Detroit artist Scott Hocking who joins us for his debut RUN Seventeen Shitty Mountains, which features a massive installation as part of Murals In The Market 2018. Scott Hocking creates site-specific installations, sculptures and photography projects, often using found materials and neglected locations. Inspired by subjects ranging from ancient mythologies to current events, his artworks focus on transformation, ephemerality, chance, and the cycles of nature. We’ve teamed up with The David Klein Gallery to offer two very unique editions as part of this year’s festival. Read on our for interview with Scott Hocking, check out the installation video for Seventeen Shitty Mountains below and grab Scott Hocking’s debut print RUNs here exclusively on 1xRUN…
See more coverage of Scott Hocking’s Seventeen Shitty Mountains over at Juxtapoz + at the Detroit Free Press…
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this installation.
Scott Hocking: Seventeen Shitty Mountains consists of 17 individual sculptures, constructed from discarded concrete materials found onsite. 8 of the sculptures are large towers, built from concrete sewer pipes that weigh approximately 10,000 lbs each (5 tons), sized approx. 8 ft long x 6 ft diameter each 3 of these large towers are approximately 22 ft high, built from 3 of the 10,000 lb concrete pipes, and therefore weigh approximately 30,000 lbs each (15 tons) the 5 other large towers are built of 2 or 3 large concrete pipes and are approx. 14 ft tall, and range from 15,000 lbs (7.5 tons) to 30,000 lbs (15 tons) the 9 other sculptures are part of what I call Shitty Stonehenge, aka Hermaphrohenge, aka Scotthenge, and make up an arc of columns / towers clustered together onsite. All of the materials used in the installation are arranged and stacked cast-concrete sewer pipes of various sizes and diameters, as well as other cast-concrete slabs, chunks, and fragments.
Seventeen Shitty Mountains came about when Jesse and Roula from 1xRun invited me to participate in the Murals in the Market festival. Knowing I work site-specifically, using whatever materials I find, Jesse and I explored potential sites around Eastern Market. The former Water and Sewerage building and adjacent vacant lots between Orleans and Riopelle Streets, were immediately intriguing because they are some of the last vacant properties in Eastern Market. For me, a site has to be visually appealing, but also has to have materials I can use. When we found various concrete pipes lined up in different sections of the vacant lots adjacent to the building, I knew this was the material I could use. There were 20 large concrete sewer pipes, and dozens of other smaller pipes and concrete fragments scattered throughout the area. This was good enough material and context for me to make a site-specific installation.
The title Seventeen Shitty Mountains is a play on the site-specific sculptural installation Seven Magic Mountains by Ugo Rondinone, built out of large, stacked boulders in the Nevada desert, and painted various vibrant Day-Glo colors. This work is very photogenic and “selfie” friendly. In my work, using discarded and decaying concrete sewer pipes – literally “shit pipes” – I decided to make a megalithic installation that at once parodies the Seven Magic Mountains work, and also riffs on the ancient megaliths and henges of the UK, ancient Roman or Greek ruins, and other prehistoric sites such as the Moa of Easter Island. A contemporary mysterious artifact and/or ceremonial site of unknown origin that people can stumble upon and discover – perhaps while buying their fruits and vegetables at the market. Playing with ideas of ceremony, ritual, and contrasting ancient mythologies and mysticism with our everyday life are central themes to my artworks. I like that people will be driving by and notice something strange, leading to further investigation. The sewer pipes seem utilitarian in some way, and I think that confuses people who discover them. If people say to themselves “wait, what the fuck is that?” I’m happy. The work is also sub-titled Shitty Sun Tunnels, after another famous desert-southwest land-art work called Sun Tunnels, by Nancy Holt. Again, playing with themes of these previous, famous works, I’m interested and making a Detroit-centric version, using wasted materials, and a neglected space.
Physically, I build large-scale site-specific installations like this almost as if they’re a large 3D sketch. Placement of the works and their overall arrangement was determined as I worked. The short 1-week timespan helps me make quick decisions and trust that I will figure it all out as I go. An important tenant in my work is a belief in chance, and that things go as they are supposed to go. Often, I work in sites that are not mine, I’m trespassing and I do not own the materials I use, and this circumstance has led me to consistently practice letting go of any control of the fate and transitions of the physical works. Instead, I focus on the practice itself, from the conceptual aspects behind the ideas, to meditative qualities of work onsite, often alone, with only the sounds of nature surrounding me. In the end, like most site-specific installations I create, the work will be destroyed, altered, or eliminated in some way. But the photographic series’ created from the three dimensional works lives on, often the only evidence that the site-specific artworks ever existed.
The work was created over the course of 7 days / one week, using a 10,000 lb capacity telehandler (telescopic material handler).
Presented in partnership with Detroit’s David Klein Gallery
1x: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Hocking: I was a good artist and musician when I was a kid. But I didn’t take it seriously until I was almost 22 yrs. old. The first sculpture I made in art school was made out of riveted found sheet steel. I still have it, all collapsed in a scrap mess, on the rooftop patio of my studio. Who the fuck knows, ha…
1x: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Hocking: Salvador Dali, Pieter Brueghel, Paul Klee, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, King Crimson. Now I’m more inspired by observing nature, by reading, researching and learning history, by music, and by looking at drawings, engravings, and symbology from old books, than by any individual artists. But I admire lots of artists for their work.
Presented in partnership with Detroit’s David Klein Gallery
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Hocking: I like to listen to my surroundings when I work onsite, so usually no music. In studio, I listen to music, and sometimes baseball games, and often multiple things at once to create a kind of cacophony
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Hocking: Werner Herzog / Neil Young. [For the latter] it would be Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
1x: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Hocking: Can’t remember the first. The last was a drawing by Jamie Easter.
1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Hocking: Currently I have a site-specific installation at the MSU Broad Museum (installation view pictured above).